November 28, 2014

5 Tips for Maintaining Your Blogging Momentum

We’ve all seen it happen: a writer gets all fired up about a new blog, posts every day for a few weeks, and then … just stops. Bloggers gets busy, lose interest, burn out, or just run out of ideas and abandon the blog.

Hey, it happens.

But it doesn’t have to happen to your blog. Here’s how to avoid blog burnout and maintain a steady stream of useful posts, even when things get hectic or it feels like your muse is away on vacation.

1. Batch your blog posts. I usually work on two or three posts at a time, because once I get into the blogging mindset I can crank out several posts in one session. Then I don’t have to think about blogging for several more days, and I can focus on other projects. It’s a useful way to manage your time, and since you’re working ahead, you have a bit of a cushion when life gets in the way of blogging.

2. Set a realistic schedule. Some bloggers update daily, but I’ve found that my own sweet spot is three times per week (usually Monday/Wednesday/Friday). That way readers don’t forget about my blog, and I don’t go crazy trying to come up with a new post every weekday (and I suspect many of you with busy lives would have trouble keeping up with daily posts anyway). I think sticking to a blogging schedule is helpful, because it keeps you accountable and gets you into a rhythm. But it’s also important to be realistic about posting frequency so you don’t push yourself too hard and get frustrated.

3. Use peer pressure. Some people enlist the help of a blogging buddy or a small group to keep them accountable and cheer them on. Another option is to join a blogging event like Michelle Rafter’s Blogathon to kick-start your blogging and keep you motivated.

4. Create a backlog. In addition to batching posts as described in #1, I also have a small inventory of posts in progress. That way if I get stuck, I can revisit one of those posts, flesh them out, and press “publish” with minimal fuss. Whenever I get an idea for a blog post, I start a draft in Blogger, even if I don’t have time to write the whole darn thing. That way I don’t worry about forgetting the idea and have some posts waiting in the wings when things get busy or I’m feeling uninspired.

5. Keep it simple. Remember, blog posts don’t have to be super-long. A post could be as simple as a photo with an inspirational quote or a YouTube video embedded with a quick caption underneath. It could be a short paragraph with a link to something you’ve written or an article someone else wrote that you found particularly interesting. It could be a Q & A with someone you admire or a roundup of links from your blog. Or it could be a guest post from another blogger. There are many ways to post an update without spending hours at your keyboard. Vary up the length and format to see what appeals most to your readers.

Tell us! Do you struggle with posting consistently? How do you maintain momentum on your own blog? Any tips you’d add?

Flickr photo courteys of Mike Licht, NotionCapital.com

Comments

  1. Great post! I have to admit, I hit a wall a few months back, but then I started making a few changes. First, I invited other writers from my circle to do guest posts (gets me off the blogging hook at least a few days a month) and I shifted my focus slightly from trying to sound like an expert to merely talking about my own experiences, good and bad. It may not set me apart from other writing blogs in any outstanding way, but there's a bit less pressure to sound like an expert offering advice, and I'm finding that it's easier to come up with material.

  2. Alexandra Grabbe says:

    I look to the local community for inspiration. I find that once you have been blogging for a while and have a standard audience, people send in ideas or comments that can be used as a starting point for a future post.

  3. Jennifer Margulis says:

    Hey Susan, this is a really helpful post full of good advice. I would add that inviting guest bloggers, and/or doing a Q & A from time to time are two ways to re-charge your energy (because it's nice to have that interaction). I'm also thinking of soliciting ideas from the In Real Life community (though I haven't yet, it was a middle-of-the-night brainstorm). I get paid for one blog I write so I have to keep updating it (money is a motivating factor) but the two other blogs I keep — one to promote a book (and I bet the blog has not sold one copy, sigh) and one for my writing life — are often neglected… I'll be checking back to see what other readers advise!

  4. Jesaka Long says:

    Thanks for sharing your tips, Susan. I definitely want to try writing posts in batches – that seems like a great way to manage time, too. I've found that carrying a pocket-size notebook dedicated to blog ideas helps tremendously. It keeps me from forgetting about post ideas that arrive in random places and it's great to flip through the book when I'm having "blogger's block."

  5. Great post! I keep ideas saved in the dashboard as well, and tear out articles which might be relevant. Other bloggers' comments are really useful too as they add a different perspective to topics we are already talking about.

  6. Peggy Bourjaily says:

    I get inspired by the pictures I take (I blog about food) so I always try to have several different dishes photographed and ready to be published so that I can pick up and go from there.

    Really helpful post. I think I'll try batching.

  7. Made sense to me. I blog once a week, but if something comes up of course I am delgihted to use it. I am going to use your tips to help get me over those busy, hard to get anything done time. Thanks!

  8. MyKidsEatSquid says:

    Excellent tips. Contests can also help re-energize your blog or at least give you some focus for your blog. I also like to look at current events to help guide my blogging. Since I blog about food–this week's posts will be devoted to Super Bowl food. Chase's Calendar of events can give you ideas about what special month/days are coming up–national peanut month anyone? That'd be March!

  9. Good info. I treat blogging like a job and try to post consistently. It's part of my platform building and has also gotten me writing gigs, so I take it seriously.

  10. Thanks, Susan, for some great reminders. It is sometimes difficult to keep momentum up. I try to read other blogs for inspiration and also try to keep current with all the news about health (my blogging topic) so that I stay current. I also try to keep a backlog of ideas for when I come up empty.

  11. This is a great post with some really useful ideas. Thanks!

    –xo.

  12. sarah henry says:

    Susan,

    Such sound advice & thanks for the reminder that posts need not be long…something I, um, struggle with. I do like to tell a story. But agree that variety is key.

    I wish I could figure out a way to do the "batch" thing you suggest but it doesn't always work for me, since I often cover newsy events or tie posts to a food happening.

    But I agree that having a short, breezy post in reserve is handy for those busy work weeks when blogging takes a backseat. And often draws the most traffic and comments too.

  13. Victoria Mixon says:

    I have to admit, I don't have trouble blogging. I blog on a very specific subject that's my all-time favorite subject in the world: the craft of fiction. This is my life's work. It's what I do for a living. I'm always stumbling across new aspects of it I want to discuss with readers, a source of of infinite fascination to me.

    I did have to go private with it after a competitor "borrowed" a post, without so much as the courtesy of asking, in order to publicize her own business site.

    So now I maintain two blogs, a public one on the business of fiction and a magazine with a nominal fee on the craft of fiction. But I happen to have a husband who keeps me well-supplied with links to articles on the publishing industry, so even when I have no business opinions firing me up, I have other people's articles to share with readers of the public blog.

    The magazine just seems to fuel itself. I can barely keep up. What I don't think of off the top of my head, readers ask me about. I have to keep a list of future topics so I won't forget any.

    I could do this all day.

  14. These are great suggestions. I have to admit to being an on-again, off-again blogger, but I'd like to start updating my site with a little more consistency. You've got me inspired!

  15. Donna Hull says:

    Great post, Susan. I'm going to adopt your idea of batch posting. Also, my goal is to have a few "safety" posts prepared for those busy times when I can't keep up. Guest posts are excellent for this.

    I'll add my tip. Prepare a monthly editorial calendar. My 3x a week posts are scheduled ahead so that I know what I'm writing about. This helps keep me well-rounded. I can see at a glance if I'm touching on the different sub-topics of my blog or if I'm becoming one-sided.

    My blog is a business and I treat it as such.

  16. Marisa Birns says:

    I don't have to think about what to blog since mine is purely postings of short stories I write.

    I have a new one every week on Fridays.

    But thinking up stories is hard, and sometimes I have only a line or title. I do like your way of writing down things to Blogger Draft and working on them later.

    Thank you.

  17. The Writer's [Inner] Journey says:

    I blog in various and for various venues, and your tips totally rang true. Each point alone offers very good advice. Taken as a whole the post is the beginning of a blogging how-to guide!

  18. Kris @ Honolulu On The Cheap says:

    Excellent advice. I blog in batches, and I've finally (just!) realized that I don't need to write a novel every single time – especially since I post 5-6 items each day.

  19. Stephanie - Wasabimon.com says:

    Great advice, Susan! I try to work on a schedule during the week, with one day devoted to blogging. Ideally I write all of my posts then, and scatter them throughout the week. Of course, in the freelancing life, things often do go as planned. ;)

  20. Tammi Kibler says:

    Great tips!

    My suggestion when you are stuck – a "best of" index post with links to your best posts on a particular subject.

  21. sometimes the blog wall is just a big stone that has to be moved away to get clear to write, having a collection of rigging/ lifting tools handy is a good start…

  22. Mark Welker says:

    Excellent article. I find that writing posts in batch and scheduling them out for the week at least gives me some breathing room. Also variety. Ultimately you've got to enjoy what you're writing so getting a good list of together of different kinds of posts (interviews/photos/links etc) helps keep the creative juices flowing.

  23. Natalia Real says:

    I love number 5! You're so right. And I agree with the rest. Rock on.

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